River cruising is more popular than ever before, but is it really for me? I’m still not entirely sure, but I am open to the possibility of experiencing a new way to travel by water. To river cruise, or not to river cruise: that is the question.
What is it about the river cruise experience that tempts me?
I like the idea of leaving my floating home and being right in the heart of the destination that I’m visiting, it’s possibly one of the biggest appeals of river cruising. There’s no hassle getting to and from because it’s all there in front of you. Yes, I can absolutely see myself enjoying that aspect, especially if it’s been a long day of exploring but the ship doesn’t sail until late evening, or even the following day, as it makes exploring by night much easier and far more appealing.
Onboard entertainment isn’t my thing on any ship, ocean or river, so when it comes to that aspect of the experience, I could take it or leave it. I’d much rather sit outside and watch the world go by, remembering to ‘duck’ at some points along the route! All that top deck space is just screaming at me to go and enjoy it, but I must remember to keep my head!
A constant and ever-changing scenery is also something I enjoy and yes, it does come with ocean travel, but not in the way it does with river. There’s always a physical land aspect to admire on a river cruise and that would also sit perfectly with my above mention of being out on the open decks and disregarding organised entertainment. Instead, I could sit outside and use the scenery as a talking point to engage with other people, that’s my kind of entertainment. We spend so much time immersed in technology and being “entertained” that we forget about the basics of life and what enrichment you can get just by conversing with another human being. Give me conversation over anything and everything else.
Included excursions are a big appeal and Emerald Waterways offer some fab ones (I’ve looked). That takes a huge weight off budgeting for extra costs and it also gives you one less thing to plot and plan pre-cruise. It’s already been taken care of for you. I could spend hours researching one port, so this could potentially save me days of my life.
And what’s putting me off?
If you know me, this won’t come as a surprise. Bad weather and the potential lack of it puts me off. One thing I enjoy more than anything about ocean travel is being able to feel the force of Mother Nature. I’m not likely to experience a force 9 storm in the middle of a river, am I? And that is genuinely one thing that deters me. I know, I’m missing some crucial screws, but each to their own.
Size is also a concern. I much prefer a smaller cruise ship over a mammoth monster, but is a river ship going to be too small for my idea of comfortable space? Several people who have tried river cruising have all said I would enjoy it and that the vessels don’t feel as small as they can sometimes look, but it does sit in the back of my mind. I like to see the same faces day-to-day when I cruise, but I don’t want to feel like we’re constantly on top of each other.
Flying is one thing I don’t like to do and with many river cruises, unless I trekked across Europe, I’d have no choice but to fly out to meet the ship. Maybe I should be kinder on this subject as one trip I’d love to do is along the Rhine and I can easily sail from my home city to Amsterdam to join a whole host of river vessels. See how this was supposed to be on my negative list, yet I manage to spin it into something with a more positive vibe? Maybe that’s my travel heart already ruling my head and telling me which direction I’m going in.
Will I do it?
Regardless of all the things that are telling me it would never be my first choice over ocean travel, I would like to experience it and even prove myself wrong. Before embarking on my first cruise I was always adamant that cruising wasn’t for me and here I am. Maybe having a river cruise option in my life will enhance my overall travel experiences and give me something else to crave in our fabulous world that is filled with wonders to explore.